Samantha Brown's Top Mistakes To Avoid When Packing For Your Next Trip

Raise your hand if you've ever arrived at your destination only to find you horribly mispacked and now have to deal with the consequences. Whether you forgot to bring a rain jacket, packed too many shoes you're not going to wear, or left a must-have item at home, not packing efficiently can spell disaster even before your trip has started.

Luckily, packing doesn't have to be a game of "what am I forgetting?" every time you pull out a suitcase. According to travel expert, writer, and TV host Samantha Brown, it's all about knowing how to pack, and pack well.

Sharing these tips on her blog, "Samantha Brown's Places to Love," Brown admits that there really isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to packing — and that mistakes will happen, even if you've been doing it for years, like she has. However, that doesn't mean you can't take additional steps toward ensuring you're prepared for whatever happens, wherever you go, by avoiding these common mistakes, at the start and at the end of your trip.

Not prepping for the weather before you leave

In terms of packing, Samantha Brown writes that her number one mistake is typically not preparing for the weather ... and that means any type of weather. Sure, no one wants to summon cloudy days if they're heading on a tropical vacation — but no amount of wishful thinking can actually control nature's whims. Rain, for one, is incredibly unpredictable. That's why, according to Brown, it doesn't hurt to bring along an umbrella or waterproof jacket even if you don't think you're going to need it. At the end of the day, it's better to have them take up a little more room in your bag than to spoil any of your fun because it's raining and you can't go outside.

The same goes for choosing not to pack a light sweater or outer layer if you're traveling somewhere you think is going to be consistently hot. While most warm destinations don't necessarily require wearing more clothes, you don't want to be surprised by a freezing-cold hotel restaurant, shivering through a night bus journey, or dealing with the AC on blast at a local store while you're trying to shop.

Forgetting to double-check your room before coming home

Post-vacation brain fog is a real thing — and it can manifest itself in a couple of different ways. One of them, Brown writes, is forgetting to look through your hotel room before checking out to make sure you've packed everything. The result? Leaving items behind, most of which are never to be seen again.

In fact, according to a survey by Motel 6, 54% of travelers admitted to leaving something at a hotel. While clothing and toiletries are typically the most-forgotten items — 42% noted they'd left these things behind — others include electronic devices and chargers (40%), jewelry and watches (15%), hair-styling tools (13%), and even underwear (13%). All of which goes to say that packing mistakes can happen twice during your trip if you're not careful.

A great way to avoid this is by staying organized and keeping track of your stuff. That's where the beauty of having a general packing list comes in. You can use it before your trip to make sure you're bringing everything you need, and check it again at the end of your trip to confirm there's nothing left behind in your hotel room.